Recovering of an identity: restoration works of the Orsini-Colonna castle in Avezzano, Italy

The Orsini Colonna castle of Avezzano represents one of the most important historic buildings in the internal area of Abruzzo. Founded at the end of the fifteenth century, on the rests of an older structure, with continuing modification till the sixteenth century, the building had several damages with the earthquake of January thirteenth 1915, which destroyed the entire city Avezzano and the neighborhood, causing more than 30000 victims. After the quake event, the efforts and the works for the preservation didn’t have the time to start, because of the beginning of the world wars; in particular, the castle suffered more damages with the three different bombardments on the city in 1943 and 1944. The first works of recovering and restoration were achieved in 1964 by the Genio Civile of Avezzano, the corps of engineers, with the direction of Tommaso Orlandi; in this intervention, the building had been interested by the recovering of the structures, with the reconstruction of the perimeter walls, also with the purpose of avoiding deterioration and the complete abandonment. The second works were conducted by the architect Alessandro Del Bufalo, who designed the restoration of the entire building, inserting an internal concert hall in the courtyard with a new structure in steel and glass, recovering the castle basement under the towers, and creating a modern art gallery museum in the second level. The works finished in 1994. This paper aims to redefine the historical development of the building, focusing in particular on the restoration interventions of the last century, and their different methods in the efforts of preservation, which approached to the preservation and reconstruction of the building in different ways.